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Zenaida Yanowsky

Principal of The Royal Ballet


Zenaida Yanowsky is a Principal with The Royal Ballet. She joined the Company in 1994 and was promoted to Principal in 2001. Signature roles include Sylvia, Odette/Odile (Swan Lake), Marguerite, Manon, Natalia Petrovna (A Month in the Country), Myrtha (Giselle), Raymonda (Raymonda Act III) and Principal roles in 'Rubies' (Jewels), Apollo and In the Night. She has created roles for choreographers including Will Tuckett, Kim Brandstrup, Alexei Ratmansky and Christopher Wheeldon, creating for Wheeldon the Queen of Hearts Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Paulina (The Winter's Tale).

Yanowsky was born in Lyon, France. Both of her parents were dancers with Lyon Opera Ballet, and as a small child she often accompanied them on tour. The family settled in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, and she trained at the dance school set up by her parents. After winning a silver medal at Varna in 1991, she joined Paris Opera Ballet. Further awards included gold medals at the 1993 European Young Dancers Competition and the 1994 Jackson International Ballet Competition.

Two of Yanowsky's siblings are also dancers: her older brother Yury is a principal with Boston Ballet and younger sister Nadia a soloist with Dutch National Ballet. Yanowsky is married to British baritone Simon Keenlyside, whom she met at the Royal Opera House.

Upcoming productions

  • The Winter's Tale

    Cast as Paulina

    The world premiere of a new full-length ballet by Artistic Associate Christopher Wheeldon, based on Shakespeare’s enduring tale of love, loss and reconciliation.

  • DGV: Danse à grande vitesse

    Cast as Principal

    Christopher Wheeldon channels the hurtling momentum of Michael Nyman’s music in choreography of thrilling propulsion.

  • Manon

    Cast as Manon

    Kenneth MacMillan's acclaimed tragic ballet is a modern masterpiece.


News and features

  1. Your reaction: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

    Your reaction: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

    Audience tweets about the return of Christopher Wheeldon's fantastical ballet.

  2. Zenaida Yanowsky receives Spanish Dance Award

    Zenaida Yanowsky receives Spanish Dance Award

    Royal Ballet Principal recognized for her talent in both contemporary and classical dance.